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Freshdesk CRM review

Outstanding support center tools at a steep price

Freshdesk logo
(Image: © Freshdesk)

Our Verdict

Freshdesk is a powerful CRM that offers email ticketing, live chat, and phone support for your customers. It’s very easy to use and boasts tons of features, but plans that include automation can be pricey.

For

  • Very easy to use
  • Integrated ticketing, chat, and phone support
  • Includes automations and chatbots

Against

  • Expensive, especially for chatbots
  • Advanced reports have a steep learning curve

TechRadar Verdict

Freshdesk is a powerful CRM that offers email ticketing, live chat, and phone support for your customers. It’s very easy to use and boasts tons of features, but plans that include automation can be pricey.

Pros

  • + Very easy to use
  • + Integrated ticketing, chat, and phone support
  • + Includes automations and chatbots

Cons

  • - Expensive, especially for chatbots
  • - Advanced reports have a steep learning curve

Freshdesk is a customer support platform from Freshworks. This CRM offers a helpdesk, messaging center, and call center all in one. In our Freshdesk review, we help you decide if this is the best CRM software for your business.

Freshdesk is designed specifically for customer engagement, and is one of a series of Freshworks CRMs with different focuses – the other two being Freshmarketer for marketing and Freshsales for sales management. 

If you're looking for an all-in-one CRM that combines sales and marketing, we recommend Freshsales Suite.

Freshdesk review: Snapshot

Freshdesk is a capable CRM that enables your business to offer outstanding customer support. The platform helps you manage email ticketing, live chat support, and a call center, and it’s much simpler to use than competing CRMs like Zendesk.

It offers a number of useful tools for team collaboration, including shared inboxes and tools for automating the organization of incoming requests. The software also includes highly advanced reporting features, although using them involves a steep learning curve.

Freshdesk is one of the more expensive support center platforms we have reviewed, so it may not be suitable for businesses on a tight budget. However, if you can handle the software’s cost, it’s one of the top CRM platforms for customer support.

Score: 4.5/5

Read on for the full review.


5 reasons why small business needs a CRM

Freshdesk’s competitors

How does Freshdesk compare to its main competitors?
FreshdeskZendeskLiveAgent
Score4.5/54/54/5
ProsVery easy to use - Integrated ticketing, chat, and phone supportBuild your own custom plan - Customizable reports and dashboardsAutomatic ticket routing - Affordable plan options
ConsExpensive - Advanced reporting is complicatedConfusing user interface - No asset management featuresNo chat-to-SMS - Doesn’t offer phone support
VerdictFreshdesk is a capable support center CRM that’s very easy to learn and use. However, it can be pricey, especially if you want automation or chatbots.Zendesk is a versatile CRM that lets you create an online knowledge base and answer customer questions. You can build custom plans, but advanced features are pricey.LiveAgent is an affordable, easy-to-use platform for chatting with customers online. However, it doesn’t offer options for phone support.
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Freshdesk: Key features

Freshdesk is split into three modules: Support Center, Messaging, and Contact Center.

The Support Center module handles customer support tickets. You can set up ticketing across multiple platforms, including your website, an app, social media, and more. New tickets can go not only to an individual but also to shared inboxes to enable collaboration. Teams can share tickets with other teams, as well as split up tasks to speed up answering complex requests.

Messaging, formerly known as Freshchat, is Freshdesk’s chatbot service. You can deploy automated chatbots across your website, mobile app, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Telegram, and Apple Messages. As for support tickets, incoming messages can be directed to a shared inbox to promote collaboration within support teams.

Freshdesk: Key features and highlights

Image 1 of 4

Freshdesk's support center

Freshdesk Support Center sends new tickets to a shared inbox for collaboration (Image credit: Freshworks)
Image 2 of 4

Freshdesk's chatbot builder

Freshdesk Messaging enables you to build automated chatbots for live chat requests (Image credit: Freshworks)
Image 3 of 4

Freshdesk's contact center

Freshdesk Contact Center enables you to take incoming support calls and coordinate agents across more than 90 countries (Image credit: Freshworks)
Image 4 of 4

Freshdesk's contact management interface

Freshdesk tracks all current and past tickets for all of your customers, plus keeps transcripts of past chat sessions and phone calls (Image credit: Freshworks)

Contact Center, formerly called Freshcaller, is a voice-over-IP (VoIP) service that lets your business answer incoming phone calls from customers. It supports agents in more than 90 countries, and lets you bring your own carrier if you already have one. Contact Center automatically records and transcribes calls, and agents can even switch a phone call to live chat.

Freshdesk tracks all support interactions between your company and your customers, giving you detailed insights into everything that’s happened on a customer’s account in the past. For any contact, you can see current tickets, archived tickets, agent notes, transcripts of past chat and phone conversations, and more.

You can also tag and segment contacts to organize your database, and offer priority support to some customers.

Freshdesk: What’s new?

Since we last reviewed Freshdesk, the platform has added a few important features. First, teams can now share ownership of tickets with other teams or with third parties outside your company. That opens more opportunities for collaboration.

Freshdesk also added more functionality for scheduling agents, including tracking vacation time. That way, the software can automatically route tickets and messages to agents who are working when a new request comes in.

In addition, Freshdesk introduced a quality coach tool. This enables you to create scorecards for your agents’ interactions with customers. You can also quickly analyze scorecards to find your top support agents.

Freshdesk: Pricing

Freshdesk offers four Support Desk plans, which don’t include Messaging and Call Center, and three Omnichannel plans, which do. You can try out any plan for 21 days before committing to a subscription. Freshdesk lets you pay monthly or annually, and annual subscribers save 17%.

Freshdesk’s pricing plans:
Plan type/featureFreeGrowthProEnterpriseGrowth OmnichannelPro OmnichannelEnterprise OmnichannelZendesk Suite TeamLiveAgent Ticket
Cost per monthFree$18 per agent$59 per agent$95/agent$35 per agent$71 per agent$119 per agent$59 per agent$15 per agent
Cost per year (save 17%)Free$180 per agent$588 per agent$948 per agent$348 per agent$708 per agent$1,188 per agent$588 per agent$180 per agent
Automated responsesX
Customer segmentationXXXXX
Local call minutes per monthXXXX2,0003,0005,000N/AN/A
Bot sessions per monthXXX5,0002,0003,0005,00050X

Testing Freshdesk

We tested out Freshdesk to see how easy the platform is to use, and how it handles reporting. The reporting test is particularly important, because if the data Freshdesk collects isn’t helping your company improve customer service, then the software isn’t doing its job.

How easy is it to use Freshdesk?

Freshdesk's dashboard in use

Freshdesk’s dashboard displays a summary of new support requests and customer satisfaction (Image credit: Freshworks)

We were impressed with how simple it felt to use Freshdesk, especially given the breadth of tools included in the platform. The Support Desk, Messaging, and Contact Center modules are neatly organized into a left-hand menu along with your contact database, reporting center, and administrative settings. 

A right-hand sidebar displays customization options as you navigate through Freshdesk, so you don’t have to deal with pop-ups or buried pages.

When you first log into Freshdesk, an overview dashboard gives agents a clear look at everything that’s on their plates. There’s a summary of new, unresolved, and due today tickets, plus a to-do list based on what tasks you or team members have been assigned. The dashboard also shows the results of customer satisfaction surveys, which helps agents keep track of how they’re doing.

We especially liked the layout of Freshdesk’s Support Center, which is set up like an email inbox. A tag makes it easy to identify new support tickets, and every ticket can be assigned a priority level. Plus, you can filter all tickets in your inbox based on what agent or team they’re assigned to, what priority level they have, or when the next response is due.

How good is Freshdesk’s reporting?

Freshdesk's reporting demonstrated

Freshdesk’s pre-made reports let you quickly analyze support ticket load and agent performance (Image credit: Freshworks)

Freshdesk offers built-in reports and analysis tools to help you constantly improve the quality of your customer service. We thought the platform did a great job with its pre-made reports, which offer customizable charts for support ticket load, agent and team productivity, and customer satisfaction surveys. You can filter these reports by agent, team, or support type, and it’s simple to export them to a PDF.

If you want more detailed analytics, Freshdesk gets a lot more complicated quickly. The platform’s custom report builder lets you drag and drop analysis widgets onto a page to create your own dashboards. There are some templates to get you started, but for the most part, you’ll add blank charts and tables, and then select what data to display. You can also add images and text boxes, customize the fonts and colors for each graph, and more.

The flexibility this offers is hard to beat, especially if you want to create a professional-looking report for a big meeting. However, the learning curve is quite steep when building your first few reports, and it takes a lot of time to work through all the customization options.

Alternatives to Freshdesk

Freshdesk isn’t the only CRM focused on helping you offer exceptional customer support. Zendesk and LiveAgent are two competing software platforms that give you tools for ticketing, live chat, and phone support.

We found Zendesk to be extremely versatile. It offers more than 1,000 apps and integrations, and includes automation features at a cheaper price point than Freshdesk. Plus, it has an internal help desk, which is a great tool for larger companies.

The downside to Zendesk is that it’s not as user-friendly as Freshdesk. For small companies that want to get a support center up and running quickly, that could be an important reason to choose the latter.

LiveAgent is more affordable than Freshdesk, but we found that this platform doesn’t offer nearly the same depth of features. Ticketing takes a backseat to live chat support within the platform, which means that there are fewer reporting options and automations for ticketing. It also doesn’t offer phone support at all. 

So, LiveAgent can be a good option if you primarily want to set up chat support, but it’s not as powerful as Freshdesk for creating a complete support center.

Freshdesk’s features compared to the competition
FreshdeskZendeskLiveAgent
Ticketing?YesYesYes (limited)
Live chat with bots?Yes (limited monthly bot responses)YesYes
Support24-hour chat and phone24-hour phone, email, and live chat24-hour phone, email, and live chat
Basic plan$12.99 a month$16.99 a month$2.99 a month

Freshdesk: Final verdict

Freshdesk is high-quality CRM software that can help your company set up a comprehensive customer support center. It supports email ticketing, live chat, and phone support, and works across all the channels your company operates on. Plus, Freshdesk includes automations and chatbots with its higher-tier plans. 

Despite the large number of tools and features that Freshdesk brings to the table, we found the software to be surprisingly easy to use. It’s well organized, and makes it easy to start answering tickets and chats right away. The only area where we found friction was in the advanced reporting tools, which are so advanced that they can be difficult to master.

The only real downside to Freshdesk is its cost. Features like workflow automation are pricey, and you’ll need an expensive Omnichannel subscription if you want to add live chat or phone capabilities to your support center. Zendesk offers a similar set of features at a significantly lower price, but it’s not as easy to use. So if your company has a large enough budget, we’d recommend sticking with Freshdesk.

Further reading on CRM software

If you’re interested in learning more about CRMs like Freshdesk, check out our guides to the best CRM for small business and the best CRM for real estate. We’ve also reviewed the best free CRM software, and explained why your small business needs a CRM.

Michael Graw

Michael Graw is a freelance journalist and photographer based in Bellingham, Washington. His interests span a wide range from business technology to finance to creative media, with a focus on new technology and emerging trends. Michael's work has been published in TechRadar, Tom's Guide, Business Insider, Fast Company, Salon, and Harvard Business Review.